Oscars: Jimmy Kimmel to Host This Year's Ceremony (Exclusive)

Jimmy Kimmel Hosting Emmys - H Getty 2016
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“Jimmy has the qualities of all the great hosts,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs.

After a long wait this year, Jimmy Kimmel has been set as Oscar host, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. 

The comedian will host the 89th Oscars show, to be broadcast live by ABC on Feb. 26, sources said. It will be the first time hosting the Oscars, the granddaddy of all awards shows, for Kimmel, who's been the face of ABC's late night telecast since his Jimmy Kimmel Live! launched in 2003. Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd are producing the high-profile event. 

Disney/ABC Television Group chief Ben Sherwood had publicly urged the Academy to consider handing the high-profile gig to Kimmel. In August, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences struck a new deal with ABC, which pays about $75 million a year to broadcast the Oscars, to extend the agreement until 2028. As part of the pact, ABC got more creative input on the show, including the choice of producers and host, although the Academy retained final say on the decisions. Kimmel has emceed the Emmys twice, in 2012 and this past September.

“Mike and Jennifer have an excellent plan and their enthusiasm is infectious,” said Kimmel at the taping of Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Monday. “I am honored to have been chosen to host the 89th and final Oscars.”

While he won good reviews for hosting the 68th Primetime Emmys on Sept. 18, ratings fell to an all-time low of 11.3 million viewers. The Oscars aims for a much bigger audience. The most recent ceremony, which Chris Rock hosted in February, attracted 34.3 million total viewers, which was considered a disappointment, since it ranked as an 11-year low for the Oscar-cast. Kimmel also has regularly piggy-backed on the Oscar broadcast, with ABC airing a Jimmy Kimmel Live: After the Oscars special immediately following the awards ceremony.

“Jimmy has the qualities of all the great hosts,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “He knows who he is, he knows the audience and he knows how to captain a ship with many moving parts. We're thrilled he has agreed to host our show.”  

5:40 p.m.: Updated with quote from Kimmel.